Last Monday’s game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers show showcased a pair coaches who appear to have taken completely different paths to achieve coaching success but share common beliefs that have been critical to their success.
Ben Bolch of the LA Times, delved in to comparing the Coach Greg Popovich and Coach Glen “Doc” Rivers.
Away from the practice, the coaches take different approaches to ensure their teams succeed.
Coach Popovich has been known to be a gruff personality with a great disdain for the media. He takes a certain joy in needling the media, especially sideline reporters.
After finding a group of aspiring journalists, from Long Beach State, Coach Popovich said
"Keep them away from me or they'll want to change their majors."
Coach Rivers takes the opposite approach. As a former color analyst for both the Spurs and ABC, Rivers knows how it feels to be on the other side of the exchange. So he is more engaging with the media and makes all the reporters feel welcome.
“It should come as no surprise that he once played in a flag football league with reporters who covered his team when he coached the Orlando Magic.”
During the game, Popovich takes a more hands off approach. With the same core players and offense system in place for the past fifteen years, Popovich believes that the players can handle any situation that is thrown at them during the game.
Popovich’s tenure with the Spurs allows him to make sure players know that either the get on board or will be taking the next thing heading out of town. Just ask the Clippers Stephen Jackson.
Rivers takes the opposite approach. When you have a young team, you have to have guide them along more until they grasp the offense. He tends to need to make more in game adjustments to help the team.
Both coaches believe that communication is crucial. You have to be able to tear down the walls between the players and themselves. During the eighty-two game season, you need players who are able to give and take. Without this sense of camaraderie, the team will begin to split apart.